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From Tin Pan Alley to grand opera, player-pianos to phonograph records, David Suisman's "Selling Sounds" explores the rise of music as big business and the creation of a radically new musical culture. Around the turn of the twentieth century, music entrepreneurs laid the foundation for today's vast industry, with new products, technologies, and commercial strategies to inc From Tin Pan Alley to grand opera, player-pianos to phonograph records, David Suisman's "Selling Sounds" explores the rise of music as big business and the creation of a radically new musical culture. Around the turn of the twentieth century, music entrepreneurs laid the foundation for today's vast industry, with new products, technologies, and commercial strategies to incorporate music into the daily rhythm of modern life. Popular songs filled the air with a new kind of musical pleasure, phonographs brought opera into the parlor, and celebrity performers like Enrico Caruso captivated the imagination of consumers from coast to coast. "Selling Sounds" uncovers the origins of the culture industry in music and chronicles how music ignited an auditory explosion that penetrated all aspects of society. It maps the growth of the music business across the social landscape--in homes, theaters, department stores, schools--and analyzes the effect of this development on everything from copyright law to the sensory environment. While music came to resemble other consumer goods, its distinct properties as sound ensured that its commercial growth and social impact would remain unique. Today, the music that surrounds us--from iPods to ring tones to Muzak--accompanies us everywhere from airports to grocery stores. The roots of this modern culture lie in the business of popular song, player-pianos, and phonographs of a century ago. Provocative, original, and lucidly written, "Selling Sounds" reveals the commercial architecture of America's musical life.


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From Tin Pan Alley to grand opera, player-pianos to phonograph records, David Suisman's "Selling Sounds" explores the rise of music as big business and the creation of a radically new musical culture. Around the turn of the twentieth century, music entrepreneurs laid the foundation for today's vast industry, with new products, technologies, and commercial strategies to inc From Tin Pan Alley to grand opera, player-pianos to phonograph records, David Suisman's "Selling Sounds" explores the rise of music as big business and the creation of a radically new musical culture. Around the turn of the twentieth century, music entrepreneurs laid the foundation for today's vast industry, with new products, technologies, and commercial strategies to incorporate music into the daily rhythm of modern life. Popular songs filled the air with a new kind of musical pleasure, phonographs brought opera into the parlor, and celebrity performers like Enrico Caruso captivated the imagination of consumers from coast to coast. "Selling Sounds" uncovers the origins of the culture industry in music and chronicles how music ignited an auditory explosion that penetrated all aspects of society. It maps the growth of the music business across the social landscape--in homes, theaters, department stores, schools--and analyzes the effect of this development on everything from copyright law to the sensory environment. While music came to resemble other consumer goods, its distinct properties as sound ensured that its commercial growth and social impact would remain unique. Today, the music that surrounds us--from iPods to ring tones to Muzak--accompanies us everywhere from airports to grocery stores. The roots of this modern culture lie in the business of popular song, player-pianos, and phonographs of a century ago. Provocative, original, and lucidly written, "Selling Sounds" reveals the commercial architecture of America's musical life.

30 review for Selling Sounds: The Commercial Revolution in American Music

  1. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth Higginbotham

    Selling Sounds: The Commercial Revolution in American Music by David Suisman is an amazing look at the transformation of music. People once had to go out to hear live music and many people played instruments in their own home. These practices have been transformed by technology, but also business practices that kept the ownership in limited hands. In the old days, many people had pianos in their homes and many women played. Songs became business, with sheet music and people writing songs for the Selling Sounds: The Commercial Revolution in American Music by David Suisman is an amazing look at the transformation of music. People once had to go out to hear live music and many people played instruments in their own home. These practices have been transformed by technology, but also business practices that kept the ownership in limited hands. In the old days, many people had pianos in their homes and many women played. Songs became business, with sheet music and people writing songs for the public. Yet, the player piano and the phonograph changed the dynamics, we get music without musicians and the ways that a few companies control many aspects of the field mirror the early movie industry, yet that also interests with music. Even with immigrants dominated Tin Pan Alley in NYC, structuring the song writing. We get the beginning of copywriting of sheet music that is complicated by the playing of music. Initially, gramophones were owned by companies that also produced records, this monopoly lasted a long time. Victor’s Red Seal Label brought Caruso into the homes and spaces of many people. Along with the voices come the personalities that dominant people’s thinking. As movies also had music, initially with musicians playing along with silent films. This was work for musicians and many were women, often they performed before the film. Film makers wanted more control over the music, thus sending specific music to be played. All changes with talkies. Recorded music takes to the airwaves of the radio, as World War I technologies become part of the commercial industry. Some accepted the challenge by linking phonographs with radios, but now people can just listen and the question of copyright comes up again. The chapter on Black Swan is an important contribution, because the big companies ignored the music that Black people were producing. Harry Pace, a protégé of DuBois takes up the challenge in pushing racial uplift as he sought to capture the range of music that African Americans were producing. Yet as he expanded, the industry changed and the majority of White companies began to cover these singers and musicians. Looking at advertising and other issues we see the expansion of culture into industry and have a prism for how we listen to music continues to change with people having more independence to capture their own sounds and deliver them by various means. Capitalism is always playing.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Sherry

    This David Suisman character is a genius!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Danna

    As a big music fan I saw me in this book. I'm one of the blind consumers, too. As a law student I, I'm more interested in IP law after reading it. As a big music fan I saw me in this book. I'm one of the blind consumers, too. As a law student I, I'm more interested in IP law after reading it.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Stacy

    I registered a book at BookCrossing.com! http://www.BookCrossing.com/journal/3588744 I registered a book at BookCrossing.com! http://www.BookCrossing.com/journal/3588744

  5. 5 out of 5

    Paul Winters

  6. 5 out of 5

    Nick

  7. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

  8. 5 out of 5

    Joe

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ally

  10. 4 out of 5

    Lclawson

  11. 5 out of 5

    Dave

  12. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Brockman

  13. 4 out of 5

    John Vanek

  14. 5 out of 5

    Larry Eskridge

  15. 4 out of 5

    Funi Funigiello

  16. 4 out of 5

    Horacio Carreno

  17. 4 out of 5

    Amanda Vercruysse

  18. 4 out of 5

    Meg

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

  20. 5 out of 5

    Tyler Macchio

  21. 5 out of 5

    Christopher Keller

  22. 4 out of 5

    Carrie Andersen

  23. 4 out of 5

    Ken Herring

  24. 4 out of 5

    Ely Rosenblum

  25. 5 out of 5

    Peter

  26. 5 out of 5

    Allison Masangkay

  27. 4 out of 5

    Daniel

  28. 4 out of 5

    Caitlin

  29. 4 out of 5

    Brett

  30. 5 out of 5

    Danielle Sklarew

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